Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Natalie Allen


After decades of research and interventions, the gender gap in STEM fields has narrowed, and even closed in some sub-fields, such as the life sciences. This trend toward gender parity has plateaued, however, in engineering. Efforts to encourage young women to study engineering often portray the field as affording opportunities for collaboration and helping others. The success of such efforts rests, arguably, on the accuracy of the assumption that women value these qualities in a career. It also depends on the degree to which women’s perceptions of the field of engineering reflect this portrayal. For the present study, measures of career motivation, beliefs about the field of engineering, and beliefs about the self were administered to first-year engineering students. The results suggest that this strategy for drawing more women into engineering aligns well in some ways, and not in others, with the motivations and beliefs of young engineering students.